Monday, February 22, 2016

Connecting Farmer To Consumer

This has always been a challenge, but it has transformed rapidly in the last year.  Consumers have incredible access to all kinds of information both accurate and not-so-accurate.  This is where we need to step in.  Those in the farming industry need to make their story heard and share it with as many consumers as possible.  Letting them know the amount of planning, time spent painstakingly caring for our animals and crops, and the research put into improving our methods.

When each of us shares our farm story, consumers have more accurate details about the products they are purchasing and have a better connection to what they eat.  Right now activist groups have an overwhelming hold on the available information for consumers.  Putting inaccurate information into their hands paired with graphic pictures leaves a large impression on consumers.  We can and should fight this.  This is our way of life and we need to present this to the public.

Good News!  
There are many avenues for farmers to get involved:

Social Media:  Make accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your farm.  Post real-life images of life for your livestock and most importantly, you.

Join Conversations about Food and Farming:  Folks like +AgChat work to connect consumers, farmers, and everyone together to discuss hot topics in today's industry.  Be sure your voice is heard in an accurate and respectful way.

Advertise:  Have an event coming up?  See if your local paper will cover it.  Did you win an award?  Be sure to brag about it and show others what real farming looks like.  Do you know what company your beef or dairy products go to?  Promote them and share this information.

Interact:  Talk with consumers.  Answer their questions and don't assume they know everything about the industry.  Consumers need to be educated and desire knowledge about what they are putting in their mouth.  This can be at the grocery store, in the airport when someone sees your plaid and work boots, or visiting with your elected officials.  All of these places have an impact on the perception of farming.

Reach out:  Most companies are more than willing to share farm stories (especially if you use their product.)  See if they will attend an important event or feature you in some of their literature.  The more your story is seen and heard, the more positive impact you will have for the industry.

What's YOUR Story?

We'd love to hear and chat with you.  Comment below or come visit with us on Social Media.


Check out +AgChat and others like them to start getting involved today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Loss of Gain Due to Mud

Have you seen the forecast?  Did you see a 5 in front of that temperature?!  We can finally get outside to complete those tasks we have been putting off and maybe even do something enjoyable.

Temperatures warming up also bring challenges.  Not only does it flare up my allergies, it also brings the looming threat of mud.  Melting snow, a thawing ground, and manure create a headache for most everyone.

Moving equipment, keeping livestock areas clean, and even getting yourself across the yard become a challenge.  These conditions affect livestock as well.  Kansas State University conducted a study to find how different levels of mud at temps between 21 and 41 (our current temps this week) affect cattle.

They found, even being in dewclaw deep mud could have a loss of gain of 7%.  If you ADG (Average Daily Gain) is 2 pounds, 7% translates into almost a pound a week they are losing.  This quickly affects the whole herd.  In belly deep mud, there is a potential loss of 35%.  With the same ADG, that is losing almost 5 pounds a week in gain.  Reaching target ADG rates is one of the most common measures of herd performance.

Mud and waste management may seem like an avoidable chore that you put off until absolutely necessary to clean, but studies are continually showing the importance of a clean and safe environment.

We need to be diligent about scraping out pens, cleaning up our bed packs, and rotating pasture feeding locations.  These tasks paired with providing adequate bedding and solid paths for your livestock to walk on will give you a leg up on getting out of the mud.  Increasing your average daily gain and meeting your herd goals will happen when they have the environment to improve.

Of course I will plug in our own solution for this.  Top-Spread Bale Spreader spreads nice even bedding for your livestock without having to bring equipment into the pens.  You can drive along your bed pack or down your alley where the ground is more solid and not tear up your livestock area.  Taking every advantage you are able to when market prices are lower will give you the edge and may make the difference before prices pick back up again.  Not only will they reduce the amount of mud and waste your livestock is exposed to, it will aslo save you on bedding material costs.

Check out more ways to Save on Bedding by downloading your FREE copy today.

Come chat with us on Social Media and share your experiences with mud.


Visit our website to learn more about Top-Spread benefits.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Special Announcement for Bobcat Owners!

Do you have a Bobcat Skid Steer?  
Are you tired of running wiring harnesses through your cab to run other attachments?  
Guess what?!

We have the solution for you!

Top-Notch Machine is now offering a Bobcat Computer Adapter for our electrical cord.  This means you are able to plug right into your 7 pin plug by your hydraulic hook ups and use the bottom half of your toggle switches on your joysticks to run your apron chain.  The best part?  You can wire most 2 function attachments with this adapter and a 4 pin Deutsch Plug.

Are you a current Top-Spread Customer wishing to switch to this adapter?  Been thinking about ordering your own Top-Spread, but the wiring harness is holding you back?  Get on the list for our first set of orders and have yours up and running in no time.

For only $475, you can be harness free and use the switches already in your Bobcat.  You can use this same adapter for other attachments with two functions.  Your adapter comes with the wire needed for your Top-Spread.

Call Emily at 641.228.1101 to place your order to be included in the first set!

First order closes on Friday February 12th at 3pm.

This is made possible by the technology from Skid Steer Genius.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bale Processor Material Savings

Thinking about how to make your operation more efficient?  How can you save money and time this winter?

This is a question we are frequently asked, "How will Top-Spread save me?"  In reality, there are many ways; saving labor time and cost, versatility in equipment, etc.  Today we will focus on one aspect:

Material Savings

Most of our Top-Spread Customers report a material savings of 25-50% depending on their bedding preferences.  For folks with a hoop building, this is like going from one bale per pen to one bale for every two pens.

This improvement is because of several reasons.  When you shake out a bale with a skid steer, you lose the whole outer frozen shell.  It just lays there in a pile and doesn't absorb anything.

When you shake out a bale, not all of it gets aired out.  When you use a processor, it creates a more fluffy bedding stretching your material more efficiently.

The other advantage is that Top-Spread actually sizes the material.  This means your material has fresh cut edges for better absorbing material.  Think of it like this.  When you get a bouquet of flowers and cut off the bottom inch of stem, the flower is able to better absorb the water.  This is the same for bedding.  When your bedding does a better job of absorbing waste, you need to add less material at a time.

Here are two simple examples of savings:

Say right now you use 8 bales to bed one building twice a week = 16 bales per week
The average corn stalk 5x6 price is $40 = $640 per week on bedding
If you bed year round (to keep math simple) that's 832 bales or $33,280 per year on bedding.

25% Savings:

6 bales to bed one building twice a week = 12 bales per week
$480 per week on bedding
624 bales per year or $24,960
You Save: 4 bales or $160 per week and 208 bales or $8,320 per year!

50% Savings:

4 bales to bed one building twice a week = 8 bales per week
$320 per week on bedding
416 bales per year or $16,640
You Save: 8 bales or $320 per week and 416 bales or $16,640 per year!

With Material Savings like that, your Top-Spread will pay for itself in no time!

Check out other ways Top-Spread saves by downloading your FREE copy of our ebook.

Want more information?  Check out our website!